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"PICTURES OF |
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WITH TWENTY-FOUR COLOURED PLATES FROM ORIGINAL DRAWINGS.
PRINTED IN OIL COLOURS BY LEIGHTON BROTHERS.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
"50, PATERNOSTER ROW; 05, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD; AND 164, PICCADILLY.
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THE SEAL.- THE BISON.-THE POLAR BEAR.-THE WILD BOAR. -
THE KANGAROO.-THE ZEBRA.
ROVING BIRD S,
THE KINGFISHER. THE HERON. THE EA GLE. THE KESTREL. -
THE MAGPIE.-THE MALLARD OR WILD DUCK.
LORDS OF THE3 FOREST,
THE LION. THE BrEAlR. THE LEOPARD.- WIOL VES.- THE
ELEPHANT.- THE TIGER.
BIRDS AND BLOSSOMS,
TIlE NIGHTINGALE. TIE GOLDFINHI. THE LINNET. THE
CHAFFINCH. THE BLACKBIRD. THE THR USH.
NOVI I' Lf c *
T HE Seal is not a fish, though it lives a good deal in the water.
It can breathe there just as well as on land. Then it has four
feet, which you never saw a fish have, did you ? They are odd sort of
feet, it is true; the front ones are broad and flat, and have no shape,
like feet ought to have, you say, only that they have claws. The hind
ones are more strange still, for the body seems to go off at the end
into two, and these are where the tail should be.
You can see this in the picture, and you can go and see the Seal
itself without much trouble. Not that you are to start off to Green-
land or Lapland, but perhaps, for a treat, you may be taken some day
to an aquarium.
That is a place where the creatures of the sea are brought to us,
as we cannot go to them. You would laugh to see the Seals there,
rolling over and over in the water; it is clear they are having fine fun,
and enjoying it very much. Every now and then they come and poke
their noses out, that is to breathe, and then down they go again.
When they are on land they are not half so much at home.
These odd feet are not meant for walking, but for swimming. They
can only shuffle along, and if any danger comes the Seals take to the
water at once, and there they are safe. On the rocks they often lie
asleep, and there the sailors get a chance, and they are glad to shoot
them. They have so much oil and fat in their bodies that is useful,
and their flesh is a nice change from the salt meat which is the fare
on board ship.
The Seal has very mild, soft eyes, which show it can give back
some love to any one who cares to have it. It can be easily tamed,
and would follow like a dog if it had a dog's legs. I must not forget
to tell you that the Seal skin which makes your jackets comes from
another kind of Seal, and not the one we are looking at.
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ft ROUGH looking fellow, is it not ? You would not care to
meet such a one when you went out on the heath to catch
butterflies. You would rather not get over the stile if a herd of
Bisons were feeding in the field among the cows.
But do not fear, for we have no Bisons here. They want more
space than we have to give them. They would run over all England
in no time, at the rate they are going in the picture. Once I saw two
or three in a park in Scotland, and they were very good and quiet,
but their home is in America, and they are wild enough there.
When the New World was first found out, the part which is
now called the United States was covered with herds of Bisons.
They had it all their own way. Soon they had to give it up, and go
away out of the reach of man, farther and farther back. There are a
great many there still. They are called Buffaloes by the Indians,
and they are so useful to them, it is no wonder they hunt and kill
Their skins make warm blankets, and the wool is woven into a
kind of cloth which serves for a dress by day and for a covering at
night. Bison beef they cook and eat, and it is thought very nice even
by white people. The sinews make strings for their bows, and the
bows themselves come from the Bison's ribs! The other bones are
turned into tools, and there are a great many other things the natives
use which come from the Bison. So, though we may not want him
for a playfellow, we think he is very useful, and better than he
looks, after all.
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HY is the Polar Bear white, and not black or brown, as other
bears are ? Is it chance ? Oh no! there is no such thing as
that. God has a plan of His own for every living thing. And He
has a kind thought for the Polar Bear. It is born to live amongst the
snow, and so it shall be white as the snow is; thus it will not be seen
so easily, because it is so like the white ground it stands on.
Its white great coat is so thick, it does not feel the cold at all. It
is the heat the Polar Bear does not like, and I have read of one
brought to England which was so faint with the warmth, it used to
have sixty pails of water thrown over it every day to revive it and
keep it alive!
The Polar Bear lives in the far north, where so few things canz
live on account of the cold. It eats fish and seals, as it can swim
after them, and it also watches for the seals as they lie on the rocks
basking in the short sunshine which is all they ever get in that frozen
north. Sometimes a Polar Bear will float away on an iceberg and
be shot by sailors in a ship far out at sea. Once a Greenlander and
his wife were taking a cosy row in a boat together; they steered
close to an iceberg, and on the iceberg they were startled by seeing
a Polar Bear. Still more to their surprise, the Polar Bear jumped
into their boat. I dare say they wished themselves out of it, but
there was no help for it. They had to take their passenger to land.
He sat in the boat grim and still, and when they reached the shore
he walked away. I suppose he thought it would not be polite to
eat them after that: or perhaps he was not hungry. I am afraid, at
any rate, he did not pay for his passage.
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( H IS is none other than our old friend the pig, only it is in
the dress he used to wear a great many years ago. I mean
that piggy has been taken care of, and had a house to live in, and
had so many good things to eat for so long a time, that he has
quite changed from the piggy he was. I cannot exactly say he is
smartened up; nor had we better speak much about his manners,
but still he has turned from a Wild Boar into the tame pig we all
know so well. Yet the race of Wild Boars remains the same. The
Wild Boar was once found often in England, and in most of the
other countries of Europe. There were more woods then than there
are now, and so there were more places where the Wild Boars could
hide. From the woods they would come out and do a great deal of
harm to corn and to vines and fruit. It was easy to dig up everything
with their great tusks. To hunt the Wild Boar was the favourite
sport. It was not a very safe one sometimes, for those tusks were
very sharp. When young they are straight, but as the animal grows
older the tusks turn back, and they cannot do so much harm then.
I am glad to say, you will never meet a Wild Boar in our
woods now, though they live still in some wild parts of Europe and in
Palestine. It is still the same there as it was when David said of
the vine he was describing, The Boar out of the wood doth waste
it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it."-PSALM Ixxx. I3.
We do not know when the Wild Boar began to be tamed, but
it must have been in very early times. And it was only by little
and little that its wild ways changed. Its size is larger and its hair
longer, and its tusks much more fierce than is the case with the pig.
What does the pzig want with tusks, when he lives, as we have said, in
a house of his own, and is waited upon day by day like a gentleman ?
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SGREAT many strange things come from Australia, and the
SKangaroo is one of them. I will tell you how it also came
to have such a strange name. It is more than a hundred years
ago since we first began to find out that new land in the south, so
far away, where so many of our friends now go. Captain Cook
was with his ship off the coast, and one day when he landed he
saw a creature unlike any he had ever seen before. It had a very
small head, and short fore legs, but its hind legs were long, and
oh! such a tail hung down behind. While it was eating the grass,
it hopped along on all the four legs, but when it took fright, it
stood up on the hind legs and went bounding on, leap after leap,
at such a rate he could not catch it.
He watched it, and looked out for it again, and soon saw
some more of the same kind. Then he asked a native its name.
" Kangaroo," was the reply. So Kangaroo Captain Cook and his
men called it. By-and-by they found out that the word only meant,
" I don't understand you." But Kangaroo the animal has been
called ever since.
There have been a great many brought to England, and as our
air suits them, I dare say they will thrive more and more here. Their
flesh is good, and the tails make nice soup.
How do you think Mrs. Kangaroo carries her babies? Why,
in a pouch, or pocket in her breast, and you might see the little
heads all peeping out from there. The birdies have their mothers'
wings, and here you see are some animals who have a snug and
happy place as well.
W OU would like to have the pretty striped Zebra in your field,
- would you not, and then mount on his back for a ride ? He
would make the best pony in the world if you could only tame him,
but that is just what you cannot do. The Zebra is a wild thing,
and he never means to be tamed. People have tried, but have
found it was no use-so there goes a herd of Zebras across the
desert, and let those catch them who can!
They are so swift of foot, few could ever overtake them. They
are so shy too, few would be wary enough to get near to them.
They range over the plains of Africa, and feed in the spots where
the grass grows on the slopes of the hills. Some tried and trusty
one will always watch while the rest eat their meal, and at the least
noise or hint of something wrong they will all scamper away in an
In shape the Zebra is like the horse, the ears long like the
mule; the stripes, clear black and white, or black and yellow, are
like neither horse, ass, nor mule. I know you stand and have a
long look at him when you go to the Zoological Gardens. Perhaps
you like the Zebra better than anything else there. I did once, but
I think now I feel for the Zebra. It must be so sad for such a free,
wild creature to be shut up in a tiny place a few yards square.
Let us hope he learns not to mind standing still. And if we
learn, as we watch the Zebra and other animals, a little bit more
about the great and good God who made them, they will not have
been brought from their far-off homes in vain.
U V Ki N'Gl' B.i D S
o you like what is bright ? then I am sure you would like the
Kingfisher. But you will have to go and look for him, he will
not come to you. He never picks up your crumbs, nor will he perch
on a tree in your garden. For crumbs are not to his taste, he likes
fish, and nothing else.
Perhaps you have a little stream at the end of your field, or a
pond shut in with trees, and out of sight of everybody. This is just
the place for a Kingfisher, but if you want to see him you must be
very quiet, for he does not like noise. Creep through the bushes, and
then look round. You catch a glimpse of a bright blue head, and in
an instant there is a flash of light in front of you, and down goes the
blue head into the water. A little boy six years old once saw this,
and began to cry, because he thought the dear little bird would be
drowned. He was just going to pull off his coat and plunge in to
save him, when up comes the Kingfisher a little way off, as well as
ever, and not even wet.
If you were to fall into the water, you would be dripping wet
when you were pulled out, would you not ? but the Kingfisher has so
much oil in his feathers it makes the wet roll off, so that there is no
fear of his taking cold. The Kingfisher dives into the water after the
fish which are his food. When he comes out with a fish in his long
beak, he flies off to some bough close by, then he throws it up, catches
it again, and swallows it, bones and all. After that, he sits very still
with his head sunk down into his breast, so that he looks all of a heap.
He cannot digest the bones, so they are ejected in course of time, and
Mrs. Kingfisher makes use of them to line the hole in the bank which
she means to be for her nest. They cannot be very soft for the little
ones, can they ? But I have no doubt she knows what is best for
her children-Mothers always do.
T HESE tall Herons, which look as if they were walking on stilts,
do not dive into the water as do the kingfishers, but they stand
in it. When we see one bird with short legs, and another with long
ones, we feel quite sure that the great and good God has made each
just fit for the place it has to fill. So it is with the Herons, they want
their long legs for the way they catch fish, which you would think a
very slow way. They wade a little way into the stream or the lake,
and then they stop and wait till the fish come to them. They stand so
still you might think they were asleep. Their feathers are grey and
white, and a long plume floats back from the head, which is very
graceful. But when they are watching for their meal, the long neck
seems sunk into the breast, and they do not seem to have anything
to do with the world around them.
But only let a bold fish swim too near, and he will soon find out
that he has been waited for, and that the tall birds were not in a dream,
but wide awake all the time, and that they knew quite well what they
were about. The Herons do not build their nests near the water, but
up on high trees, and a great many live together, just as the rooks do.
They like the elm best, and the Herons mostly choose a clump of fir-
trees. Now and then the rooks and the Herons get too near to each
other, and then they have a fight to see which shall give way. The
place where the Herons build is called a Heronry, and gentlemen
think a great deal of having one in their parks.
You wonder the Herons should like standing still so long, do you
not ? I know that is hard work to you. They are so patient, and
they never fidget, well, suppose you try and copy them. Perhaps
there is something you want very much, will you try and wait for it as
the Herons do ? Will you not try and think that it is best to have all
good things at God's time, and not at our own ?
I SUPPOSE you are not very likely to see the Eagle, except at the
Zoological Gardens. I always stay a long time looking at it
there. It looks so fierce, and yet so sad, and no wonder. It must be
very trying to be shut up in an iron cage, and never, never able to rise
into that blue sky which has been, and ought to be still, the home.
For of all birds, the race of Eagles soar the highest, and get the
nearest to the sun, and, lest the burning rays of the sun should blind
and hurt their eyes, they have a kind of second eyelid, which they can
let down as it were when they want it, and so they can look straight
into the sun's face and not mind it.
The Eagle has very sharp claws; it lives on hares and game of
all kinds, with a young lamb or a fowl, if it come in the way. It
pounces down on them from a great height, and I am glad to say, the
force with which it comes kills them at once, before the fierce claws
tear up the prey.
The nest is made on some high cliff or ledge of rock, out of
people's reach, except a few who are very clever at climbing. Once, in
Ireland, when food was very scarce and dear, a gentleman went to stay
with a friend in a wild part of the country. There was no want there,
at any rate, but always there were nice things on the table. Only the
gentleman could not think how it was, that a duck, fat and fine, would
have a wing missing, or a hare would have lost its leg. When he
asked, he found, what do you think ? that there was an Eagle's nest on
a rocky hill near, and that every day one of the servants climbed up to
it when the Eagles were away, and helped himself at the Eagle's
larder. For when they have young ones, they always lay up a store of
good things near the nest, in case their babies should be hungry.
Ah! this was a little like the ravens feeding Elijah! God can
make birds and beasts do His will, though they know it not. We can
be His servants, and serve Him with our hearts, which is best of all.
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')Ou have had a run on the hills, or on the green downs, and now
you sit down to rest. First of all you look at the tiny flowers
round you, daisies, vetch, orchis, and then you count them up, to see
how many kinds there are. Perhaps you make twe;ny, as I have often
done, all in one little space. Next you hear the lark singing, and you
strain your eyes up into the sky to see where he is. You do not find
the lark, he is too far off, but you see another bird, ever so much
bigger, and just over your head. Its body is quite still, but its wings
are moving up and down in the air in a way you have never seen
before. This is the Kestrel, a species of hawk or bird of prey. It
is watching for its food while it hovers like this. Its sight is so keen,
that it can find out a little mouse creeping through the grass, or a rat
sitting on the bank, or a baby rabbit peeping its nose out of its hole.
Take care that it does not take you for a young lamb on the hill
side, or a chicken away from its mother's wing! Is there a nice brood
in the farm-yard, and is one of the chicks more bold than the rest, or
more silly in thinking he is big enough to look after himself? He
strays away and away, till at last, there, ready to pounce on him, the
Kestrel hovers over him. His mother's well known "cluck-cluck"
had been heard, but he had not heeded, and it is too late now. There
is one missing that night when the hen gathers her little ones under
This is rather sad, so let us hope there are no wilful chickens
in the world to-day. Or perhaps the Kestrel is not hungry, and so
he goes to the bit of rock yonder, and he stays there to have his
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/ H you know your friend here, do you not ? The Magpie is so
often kept as a pet, and a very saucy pet he is. He is not a bit
shy as he hops about the yard, and then comes and looks up in your
face with his head on one side, and his bright black eyes saying as
plain as if he could speak, Well, how are you getting on to-day ?"
and he can really speak too, if you will take the pains to teach him,
and will learn to say what you tell him almost as well as the parrot.
When you see the Magpie on a tree, its feathers look black and white,
and nothing else, but when you look into it closely you will find a great
deal of what you thought black to be dark green. And the more you
know of the Magpie, the more you will find what a sad thief he is.
He cannot leave anything alone that is bright. I do not know what
he wants with the silver spoons, or how he can use your thimble, but
he will run off with either if you leave them in his way. He will hide
them so that you may never find them again.
The Magpie makes a very odd nest, round like a big thorny ball
with a hole at the side. Once upon a time, says the fable, the other
birds all came to the Magpie to learn how to make a round nest.
" Well, my friends," said the Magpie, you must begin by laying two
sticks across so." Yes, yes," cried the jay, "we all know that."
" Next two more in this way," continued the Magpie. Of course, of
course," chattered the starling. "Then mix in a little clay," once
more said the Magpie. "Any one could do that," cawed the rook.
" Gentlemen," cried the Magpie, I see you can build a nest as well
as I can, so I need not tell you any more," and with a low bow he flew
away. So no bird has been able to make more than half a nest.
And so we see how foolish it is to seem to know things which we do
not know, and which we ought to learn.
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% ONG before you could have heard the "quack, quack" of the
F tame Duck in the garden as it picked up the snails, the Wild
Duck was hiding itself among the reeds beside the stream. And
long ago it was found out that its flesh was good to eat, and so people
thought they could bring some into the farm-yard, and then there they
would be whenever they wanted one for dinner.
So by having new sorts of food, and living in a new way, the
Wild Duck turned at last into the tame one. Not all at once, but a
little at a time. The Wild Duck lost some of its old habits, and it
learned fresh ones. In the mean time the same old kind of Wild
Duck lived on just the same, and if you go to the quiet streams, and
large ponds and pieces of water, there you will find him still. The
Wild Duck is smaller than the tame Duck. More slim in shape, and
more bright in colour. The head and neck are a lovely dark green,
and it has a pretty white ring round its throat, the other feathers are
rich brown and purple and white mixed together.
The Wild Ducks do not like the warmth, and so when the spring
comes, off they go to the north, where they can get cold air to brace
their young family. As winter returns, they return too in flocks to the
lake, the moor, and the marsh. There they are not left in peace, but
are killed in all sorts of ways. One way is to make a sort of trench,
and then a Duck trained for the purpose, called a Decoy Duck, entices
the others in. It is very silly of them to go after a Duck they know
nothing about, and who, as it turns out, only leads them into a trap.
And it is just as silly of you to follow any example which you are not
sure is a good one. There is only one safe pattern for us all to copy,
and that is, the Lord Jesus Christ. Leaving us an example, that ye
should follow His steps."
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"WOULD you like to hear a Lion Story ? Once
upon a time an English Knight was in the Holy
Land fighting against the Turks. You have
read about these wars in history, and you know
they were called the Crusades. And there were
Lions in the land in those days, just as there
were in the Bible days. The Knight was in
the woods one day hunting, and he came upon a
Lion, trying in vain to get loose from a large snake which had coiled
round him. He killed the snake, and set free the Lion, which then
fawned on him and followed him back to the camp. I dare say his
friends were rather shy of such a strange visitor, but he soon grew
so tame they got quite used to him. At last it was time to go back
to England, and the Lion thought he should go too. But the
sailors would not take him on board, and they set sail without him.
The Lion would not be parted from his master, and down he plunged
into the sea that he might get to him. He swam after the ship till at
last his strength was gone and he sank into the depths.
I hope this pretty story is true, because it tells us a Lion can
be faithful as well as fierce.
Do you not like to watch the Lions at the Zoo ? they have
such a grand grave look. Some of them have never known any
other home. In the year 1872, three little Lion cubs were born, and
they were made a great deal of, I can assure you. They were not
tawny, but spotted, and they could not roar a bit, but only made an odd
sound which was just like "mew." It takes five years for a Lion to
grow up, so now they are full-grown, and such fine creatures, with such
deep voices, you would never think they were once timid, who could
only say mew."
-- WHEN I was at the Zoo, not long
since, I saw in a large den, all to
itself, a baby-Bear. Such an odd
"little brown woolly thing; yes, I had
"found at last that which I had so often
been asked to tell" about-" The
little wee Bear !" He had a string
Sound his neck, which he did not like
"" at all, for he kept pulling at it with
a faint shrill cry. I wanted to know all about him, but the keeper
only told me that he was two months old and that he lived on milk.
Poor little beast! I pitied him left alone in his tender years, and felt
sure he was pining for his mother, but the man only laughed when
I said so. I dare say he has lived through his troubles and is come
to Bear's estate by this time.
The Bear in the picture might have been the wee one's mother
or father, I cannot say which. There are three or four sorts or
species of bear, but this one is the Brown Bear of the north of
Europe. The Bear is fond of roots, and so it has a snout fitted for
digging, and for turning up the ground or the snow to get them.
In its temper it is savage and sulky, and it likes its own company
best. So it hides in dens or the very thickest parts of the woods.
It will not attack a man unless it is disturbed or is very hungry;
if it were to do so, it would rise on its hind legs, put its paws
round his neck and crush him to death. You would not think the
Bear could climb trees, would you ? I will tell you what he wants
when he does climb them, he is very fond of honey, and he gets into
the trees to look for the holes where the bees have hidden it. The
honey ought to sweeten his temper, but I am afraid it does not do so.
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"\ THE Leopard is not only fierce but something
worse, it is sly. That is a fault which makes
every other worse, does it not ? At least it
does in us, but we must not be hard on the
Leopard, because it does not know any better,
and it is the way in which it gets its living.
The Leopard does not walk along the open
plain and meet its prey in fair fight, it hides in the bushes or crouches
in the long grass, and then pounces upon it unawares. It will wait
hour after hour till the time comes. Its form is so supple it can creep
through the jungle like a snake, till it gets near enough to spring.
Deer and antelopes and any animal smaller than itself it attacks
without mercy, but the thing it likes best is monkey.
But the monkey lives in trees and the Leopard treads the earth,
you think. Ah! the Leopard can climb too, and can chase it from
bough to bough as nimbly as a cat would do. Indeed, it is only a big
pussy after all, and pussy's little ways, which you watch in the garden
or on the hearth-rug, are very much the same as those of the Leopard
or the tiger on a smaller scale. Happily, the monkey can cling to
the weaker boughs which will not bear the Leopard, but even there
the long paw of the Leopard can often stretch after it and its fate
So it would be no good to climb a tree if you were in danger
from a Leopard. But we in England may walk in the woods with-
out a fear of its glaring eyes and angry growl.
We could admire its spotted coat, that is very beautiful. There
is a verse in the Bible about it, Jer. xiii. 23. And if you look at
the place where it is found, you will find out something God means
us to learn.
.W W-. E would not care much to meet one Wolf,
.- but what must it be to face a whole party of
them, or a pack," as it is called ? In summer
they live singly or in pairs, but in the cold
season they herd together like a flock of birds.
Sometimes two or three hundred roam about
in Russia and the north of Europe, and very
Fierce and hungry they are.
A few Wolves are found in the wilder parts of France and
Germany. Last winter, in the deep snow, a Wolf walked into the
Railway Station at Metz, to see what it could find to eat. I dare say
the porters were very much surprised.
There was a boy once living among the Jura Mountains in
France, and his name was Jean. His father was a soldier and away
at the wars. Jean was a good boy to his mother, and would help
her in every way he could. Whatever she asked him to do, it was
always "Yes, mother." One day she had to go out, and she left
Jean to take care of his two little sisters. They were very happy
together, and when Jean found he must go and cut some wood for
the fire, they begged to go too. It was early spring, and the
snow was melting, and the flowers coming out. The children were
busy gathering them, and Jean chopped away till a scream from one
of them made him look round-a huge Wolf in the act of springing,
this was what he saw. He threw himself between them and aimed
a blow at the Wolf with his hatchet. It missed, and the angry beast
flew at him. It was a hard fight, but the brave boy won at last, and
the Wolf lay dead at his feet. The God who delivered David out
of the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear helped him to save
his own and his sisters' lives. You will not be surprised to hear that
Jean afterwards became a great man and a general.
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IF the Elephant were as fierce as it is large,
-- how terrible it would be! But you have seen
it at the Zoo pacing round with a set of
_lr,, children on its back-perhaps have had a ride
.. on it yourself. So you know it can be meek
SIt is not quite so orderly as that, you may
be sure, in its own native haunts, nor is it
anxious when there to be caught. But once
caught and tamed there is no animal more
docile, more clever, or more quick to under-
stand what its master wants it to do. It is made very useful in India,
as it is so strong and able to carry so much; one Elephant will do
as much work as six horses. It is very wary too, and if it has to
cross a bridge it will try it with one foot first, to be sure that it will bear.
The Elephant's trunk is a very curious part of him, is it not?
And there are the big tusks, which we call ivory, and which are
much used by us when we get them, but not so necessary, it would
seem to the Elephant as the trunk. I do not know what it would
do without that. The trunk does all the work of getting the food
into the mouth. Though the Elephant is so large, it lives upon
very simple things, only it wants a great deal. Fruits and young
branches it eats when it is wild, but we feed it with rice and milk.
The trunk is so strong it could kill a man with a blow, yet so
tender, it can wind itself round a baby and not hurt it! Sometimes in
India people will tell an Elephant to take charge of a little child, and
so it does. It will watch over it carefully, and if any danger comes
near will gently move it out of the way. Who would have thought
that the largest animal we know should also be the kindest nurse ?
SOF all beasts the Tiger is the most fierce,
l .and perhaps of all it is the most handsome.
Those who have seen it in its own haunts
tell us that we, who know it only shut up in
an iron cage, cannot fancy how bright its colours
S are in its wild state. But we would rather see
it in its den than about in the world, would
we not ? I said in its wild state, but the Tiger
is never anything else. All other animals can be tamed better than
the Tiger. It is found in India and most of the hot parts of Asia.
We are not told anything about it in the Bible, which shows that
it did not live in the Holy Land then, nor does it now.
The lion stalks over the sandy plain, but the Tiger hides in
the jungle or thicket all day unless the hunters come after it, which
in India they are very fond of doing. They beat about till they see
its fiery eyes glaring through the brushwood. Then sometimes it will
spring on a man unawares and carry him away as easily as a cat does
a mouse. So it is not a very safe sport, is it ?
You would be frightened to hear how many of the natives are
killed in India every year by the Tigers.
Oh yes! we may be glad indeed that God has placed us in this
happy land of England, where there are none of these creatures around
us. Last year there was a story abroad that a lion had got loose,
and little children cried themselves to sleep because they thought it
would come and eat them up. But it was no such thing after all.
Some day there will be a time when on this fair earth there
will be no fierce beasts to hurt us. For they will be so changed
that what do you think it says about them ? A little child shall
lead them !" (Isaiah xi. 6.)
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AND is taat the Nightingale ? you say:
such a plain brown bird, without a bit of
"brightness about him, and is that all ? Yes,
S.that is all as far as what you see, but the
thing the Nightingale has to do is to sing.
He is doing it with all his might in the
"" .' :. -. picture, but not more than he does in truth
so l? .a e iyo- from many a bough in the spring-time.
There are sixteen parts in his song, and
it is so loud and clear you may hear it a mile off when the air is still.
The Nightingale is not so shy as he is thought to be; you may
see him pick up crumbs under your window, you may have the nest
with its five brown eggs in a bush in your garden, you may watch
him singing if you know where he is mostly to be found.
The Nightingale comes back to us the end of April, and on just
the same branch where you heard him last year, you may hear him
again this year. The branch of a young oak tree is the very place for
him, and he does not mind there being no leaves on it; now is your
time to see him and to listen to his lovely song.
This may be in the day-time, for it is quite wrong to think that
a Nightingale only sings at night. He does both, and I really cannot
tell you when he gets his naps. He likes the sunshine the same as
you do, but then he keeps on singing when the sun has set, and
other birds have gone to bed. I suppose Mrs. Nightingale stops
awake to enjoy it, as she sits on her nest in the hawthorn hedge with
the sweet snow-white flowers over her. When the young are hatched
he gives up his song and helps to feed them. It would not do to
leave all the work to his little brown wife, would it ?
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AH the nightingale has no red and
Sold about him like our friend here.
S:'./ The Goldfinch is a happy little bird,
'"'." : for he can sing too, and though it may
"'. '_ : not be so well as the nightingale, it is
: j ' a very sweet, low, and soft song, and
-he sings it over and over again.
Once a man had a cherry-tree in his
garden, but every year a pair of Gold-
finches came and eat up all the cherries. So he got a wisp of straw
and put it up in the tree, and on the straw he put an old shawl and
his grandmother's bonnet, so that it looked for all the world like
Granny herself. And now," he said, as the next spring came round,
"she will frighten the Goldfinches, and I shall have some cherries."
No such thing; the Goldfinches were there still, and they eat
more cherries than ever. How could it be ? he climbed up into the
tree to see, and what do you think he found ? the Goldfinches had
made a nest under Granny's shawl, and there were the five little open
mouths as close to the cherries as close could be I think they were
a very sly pair of birds, don't you ? After that the good man let
them help themselves to the cherries.
But better than fruit the Goldfinch likes thistle-down. You
have seen it often as it floats on the air in the autumn, and you
have tried to catch it. The Goldfinch does not do that, he takes his
friends with him, and they all go and settle on the thistle plants, and
pick off the seeds. It is a little dinner party, and they all seem to
enjoy it so much. We do not care for thistles, and we pull them
up when we find them. But it is nice for them to think that such
a dear little bird loves them and finds them useful.
PEEP-PEEP-PEEP," says the Linnet on the
-furze bush; and a great part of the year that
"' is all it has to say. But in the spring the
'-" ': Linnet's heart is so full of love he does not
"" know how to hold it, and so he pours it out
in such a wild sweet song, I hope you will be near to hear some
time this April.
For in April the Linnets, who all through the winter have lived
together in large flocks, begin to part and to pair. But before they
do that they try their songs over. One will sing first, then another
will take it up, then two or three at once, and sometimes all will
sing together. It is a treat to hear them under the blue April sky.
But you will not hear them at home. They do not care for your
company or your garden. They like best the moor, and the heath,
and the common, and there it is you must go and look for them.
They do not want your fruit either; the gold of the furze bush is a
garden to them, and the seeds of plants which you call weeds serve
them for food.
Yet there is one plant of which they are very fond, and which I
do not know what we should do without. The pretty little blue
flax, which gives us what we call linen, gives the Linnet the dinner
most to his mind. The Latin name of the flax is linum, and, don't
you see ? that is why the little bird who likes its seeds so much is
Who would have thought there could have been any link between
our sheets and table-cloths and the little bird with a brown back and
a red breast who lives amongst the furze?
Sii WE need not go far to find the
: Chaffinch. And he is so good-look-
ing it is a pleasure to catch a sight of
-.- him. There he is on the apple-tree,
in the full flush of its pink buds and
blossoms; there he is on the lawn,
-. and then a moment after on the wall.
He is always neat and well-dressed,
and his clothes seem, one might say, to fit so nicely.
We do not care for his song so much, it has not many notes, and
it wants sweetness. But there is one thing about it we do like, it is
one of the first signs of spring. The Chaffinch stays with us all the
year, but he never thinks of singing in the winter, all he says then is
" pink, pink." When you look up you may see the little bird sitting
on the bare branch, his breast not quite so bright perhaps, but just as
trim and as proper as if it were May; not a feather out of place, nor
a bit of him going the wrong way.
But some sunny morning in February the song begins, and
then we feel quite sure the spring is coming, and that the buds will
soon be on the apple-tlees, and the young green leaves upon the
boughs. Ah I dare say the Chaffinch will make its nest in the fork
of that apple-tree, and such a nest! moss and lichens and spiders'
webs put together in such a wonderful way, it is a beauty, and all the
wise men in all the world could never make such another.
You may look at it every day if you are very quiet, and may peep
at the eggs or the little ones without making the old birds uneasy.
But never loucli the nest, at least not till the owners have done with it.
Admire it as much as you like, and thank God for it, but lay not your
hands on that which is not yours.
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THE Blackbird is an old friend, is he not?
It is not so very long since you were in the
ii.-.-' nursery, even if you are not there now. You
do not forget how the Blackbird plays a part
'in nursery stories. Well, here he is, though
"perched on a pear-tree and not popping out
"from a "pie."
ph. The Blackbird's song is not a long one,
but so rich and full, you cannot help stopping
"to wait till it begins again. Then you look
about to see where it comes from. For the singer does not always
stand out to view, he likes to hide in the laurel or the bay-tree, and
that is where you are sure to find the nest.
The Blackbird builds while the boughs are still bare, so the
best thing is to put the house where thieves will not be so apt to find
it. Also, as there are two sets of young ones to start in the world,
it is as well to begin in time. The nest is rather rough, but lined
with hair, and I dare say the baby-blackbirds think it cosy. Their
mother is brown, not black, nor has she the bright yellow bill which
looks so well upon her mate. I wonder whether he thinks it odd
that his wife should be so unlike himself!
I fear the gardener will not give the Blackbird a good name, for
it eats the fruit sadly. But then it eats the snails and slugs too, which
he cannot get rid of, with all his pains, so that he ought to think he
gains more than he loses.
And we ought to thank God for the singing birds. It would be
such a dull world without them. And I think we should miss the
Blackbirds as much as any.
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THE ways of the Thrush are very like
those of the blackbird. But the spotted
breast of the Thrush, just the same in
"both male and female, makes them quite
"'i.. unlike to look at.
Both are often seen hopping upon
the lawn, both are very fond of fruit, and
-.both get up early. They have to do that
if they want a good breakfast. The slugs and snails creep away out
of sight when the sun comes out, and are only to be had when the
dew is on the grass. The birds know that, and so they begin their
But the Thrush has a way of its own of getting at its break-
fast. Snails have hard shells, and it is not easy to break them. The
Thrush will take one in its bill and knock it against a stone till it
goes crack," then there is the meal. Often under a hedge you find
little heaps of broken shells, and you might ask how they came there.
Have the snails been fighting, and are these the dead bones ? Oh
no! it is only the Thrush's breakfast room. There is some stone
near, which has been used in this way for a block.
The Thrush's nest is like the blackbird's, but lined with mud, and
not hair. The bright blue eggs have black spots; I am sure you
know them well. Its song is delightful, I hope you know that too.
If the birds in their way sing praise to God, how much better is
our way-we who can do it as to our Father through Jesus Christ.
There is a place in the Bible where four times in one verse we are
told to praise God. When you have said good-bye to the birds you
can go and find it.
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